Celebrity News

Celebrity will unleash eighteen original shows in eighteen months aboard the lines ships over the next two years.  “We are continuing to raise the bar by unveiling an array of shows that vary from groundbreaking and contemporary to magnificent and beautiful—all with lighthearted and humorous story lines, popular music and unique choreography,” said Celebrity's Becky Thomson-Foley, director of entertainment.  Celerity has pushed the envelope of cutting edge entertainment as it has grown.  Many will remember the addition of Cirque Du Soleil shows and experiences to ships over ten years ago.  However rolling out so many shows across so many ships in such a short time is a huge undertaking.

Main stage shows on cruise ships are not easy or cheap to produce.  They represent large investments by any cruise line and the very best provide experiences that can be the stuff of conversation for years after passengers disembark.  A standard new show could cost a cruise line as much as 1.7 million dollars as benchmarked against a current Royal Caribbean show aboard several Voyager and Freedom class ships.  This price includes costumes, sets, music rights and arrangements, etc.  Ongoing costs for cast and musicians is an entirely different and additional matter.  A single show might be copied to several ships, the cast and crew for each effectively training their replacements with limited guidance from the shore based management.  Each show is tracked for popularity and appeal and at some point it has to be replaced.  Ideally most shows last several years, which is feasible because most cruiser passengers won’t travel on the same ship more often than that.  If a show fails outright with passengers it represents an even larger one for the cruise line.  The capacity of a ship to support the newest concepts in ship-board shows is also a growing factor and another pressure on the lines to replace smaller, older ships quickly.

Just this past March Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, mother company of it’s namesake Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, opened a massive facility dubbed “The Studio” at Florida International University.  Able to host over 450 cast members in a 130,000 building, the venue represents a huge investment in bringing business-like efficiencies to the cumbersome process of creating new shows.  With lines such as Celebrity committing to opening eighteen new shows in as many months the investment will shoulder the burden of producing numerous and higher quality entertainment.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines News

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ “Black Watch” began itineraries from Liverpool at the close of March.  Itineraries range from thirteen to eighteen days with destinations including Dublin and the Canary Islands.  “This year, the City of Liverpool will welcome our most iconic ship, Black Watch, to its shores, and we look forward to receiving the same warm reception from the people of Merseyside as her sister ship, Boudicca, has experienced over the past two years. With its stunning vistas and proud maritime heritage, there is something very special about cruising from Liverpool, and it is a tremendous benefit to be able to offer our guests the chance to set sail from the world-famous Pier Head” said Nathan Philpot, sales and marketing director for the line.

To begin, one has to know some things about Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.  They are a subsidiary of the Fred.Olsen Group, founded in 1848.  They are based in the UK, owned by the founding family of Norwegians.  The same company owns Timex and is involved in off shore oil drilling, air travel and tanker ships.  However they have over a century of heritage in passenger travel and are among the oldest companies still plying the trade as a cruise line.  They boast only four ships at present, all would be considered “classic” in their design.  In lay terms, this means most of these ships have fewer than 2,000 passengers and were built in the late 1980s through mid-1990s.  Well maintained and highly respected they carry names long known to the venerable line such as “Black Watch” and “Balmoral.”   So as one watches news and announcements from Fred.Olsen realize that this is a small and unique line.

Royal Caribbean Orders 5th Quantum

This morning Royal Caribbean went public with news that it will purchase a fifth unit of the Quantum class.  "It is such a pleasure to announce the order of another Quantum-class ship as we are welcoming Anthem of the Seas to North America," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.  "These ships have been received with excitement, and performed exceptionally well, across the globe.  We fully expect that momentum to continue as we add to this innovative class of ships."

"It is such a pleasure to announce the order of another Quantum-class ship as we are welcoming Anthem of the Seas to North America," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.  "These ships have been received with excitement, and performed exceptionally well, across the globe.  We fully expect that momentum to continue as we add to this innovative class of ships."

Royal Caribbean's press release alludes to the capacity increase the new ship would represent but also notes that the sale of existing ships is not taken into account.

The Cruise Industry Shifts Focus to West to the Far East, Down Under.

The odds are that you have heard of the Quantum class of ships from Royal Caribbean.  Those odds are increasingly better than those of actually cruising on one of the new ships.  That is because like much of the cruise industry, Royal Caribbean International is keenly focused on staking out territory within the fast growing Asian cruise market. 

Cunard News

Cunard continues to celebrate 175 years of service and paid special attention to Australia in recent week.  Two of the three “Queens” shared Sydney Harbor early in March as the Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 crossed paths.  The ships departed amidst great fanfare for their respective itineraries that night.  Angus Struthers, Cunard’s marketing director, commented during a related press conference that Australia has passed German as the third largest source of passengers for the line.  Fittingly Cunard also paid homage to ANZAC (Australian and New Zealander)

casualties of the disastrous Gallipoli invasion from World War I aboard the Queen Elizabeth April 24th. 

 

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